Israel responds to Hamas rockets with air strike on Gaza, killing four

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Israel launched another air strike into Gaza City at about 2:15 p.m. local time today, leaving four dead and at least 40 wounded.

Israeli Air Force (IAF) F-16 aircraft targeted two Hamas installations and cars with Hamas militants. A Hamas building, which the organisation said was an administrative office of its bodyguard unit, was destroyed. A top Hamas commander riding in one of the cars was killed.

The air strike follows warnings from Israel that it will respond to repeated rocket attacks coming from Palestinian areas. Miri Eisin, spokeswoman for the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, said: "We have had enough. Israel will take all defensive measures to protect our citizens from these Hamas rockets." Hamas military spokesman Abu Obaida has threatened to retaliate against Israeli settlers and suggested using suicide bombing.

Israeli armoured units moved into northern Gaza, taking up preparatory positions, an unidentified army spokeswoman told Bloomberg.

The strike comes in the middle of heavy fighting between forces loyal to Fatah and to Hamas, part of the ongoing Palestinian factional violence.

This was the third Israeli strike in two days.